WOW. A port-leaning federal judge has ruled in favor of the idea of a limited government. What’s next—states’ rights getting another look?
This week a judge in good standing in Washington, D.C., ruled that the administration cannot force drug companies to disclose prices in TV ads. But taking a cue from a much higher court, this one punted on the reason why. Some of us thought the judge would come down on one side of the First Amendment or t’ other, or maybe buy that claim by the insurance companies that telling people the cost of a drug would discourage them from using it. Instead, the judge said this whole business is a legislative job, not an executive one, and if Congress wants this rule, it should vote for it. Then perhaps the courts will rule on constitutionality.
Okay, fine. If this requires an actual and literal Act of Congress, then let’s get busy, congressmen.
The drug companies would like to keep their prices under wrap. They’ll tell you the reason is insurance. Folks pay different rates. But some of us don’t understand the argument. It would seem that folks paying a whole lot more than their sons and daughters for their statin drugs would inquire about such things to their insurance companies. And inflict a little competition on those companies. Which may be the whole reason for the companies’ trepidation. A monopoly is so much simpler. And rakes in more money.
You gotta hand it to President Trump. He tried. He wants to require Big Pharma to put prices in their commercials. They put everything else in, running on for several long minutes about possible side effects. Surely there must be a federal regulation that requires the companies to disclose possible dizziness, headache, insominia, skin rash, brittle fingernails, etc. with their drugs. But not the price?
As far as the First Amendment argument goes, the one in which Big Pharma says it doesn’t have to disclose anything it doesn’t want to, we give you car dealers. They’re required to disclose car prices.
The real benefit in the administration’s efforts would have been to increase transparency and competition. If drug companies were required to publish their flat drug prices on television, people could more easily shop around. Call it the free market.
If a drug company is afraid showing its prices might drive customers away, maybe it should take a good hard look at its prices.
This administration has a reputation for cutting regulations, not increasing them. But in this instance, the leadership therein understands that there are degrees to these things. When it comes to the cost of drugs in this country, currently the people are in the dark. What they should be is in the driver’s seat.
Print Headline: Price check, please